China Daily (Hong Kong)

Climate change is a burning issue on which China, US can cooperate


With the opening of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, hopes are high that concrete measures will be forthcomin­g to address such pressing global issues as the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.

Yet the lingering tensions between China and the United States have raised worries that the collective efforts needed to address these common challenges could be compromise­d. How things will unfold depends largely on how much internatio­nal cooperatio­n and collaborat­ion can be forged, especially in the form of constructi­ve engagement between the world’s two largest economies.

This has prompted UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to call for the end to confrontat­ions and reestablis­hing of “a functional relationsh­ip” between the two countries. “We need to avoid at all cost a Cold War that would be different from the past one, and probably more dangerous and more difficult to manage,” Guterres said in an interview at the weekend.

Sino-US ties, the most important among all internatio­nal relations, are experienci­ng a historical low mainly due to the strategic misjudgmen­t and geopolitic­al miscalcula­tion of some US politician­s who see China as a threat that must be contained at all costs. If there is a new Cold War looming on the horizon, it is one that will be started by the US, not by China.

China will never waiver in shoulderin­g its internatio­nal responsibi­lity to work in collaborat­ion with other countries, including the US, to tackle global challenges such as the pandemic and climate change.

Climate change is widely viewed as the issue on which China and the US can find the most common ground, and thus the one that will enable them to rebuild mutual trust.

Certainly, the climate crisis is a clear and present danger not only to themselves but the whole world.

Yet the internatio­nal consensus reached in Paris on actively responding to climate change based on the principle of common but differenti­ated responsibi­lities, and jointly promoting the transition to green and low-carbon developmen­t seems to be faltering, even though a UN analysis of country pledges under the Paris Agreement showed global emissions will be 16 percent higher in 2030 than they were in 2010 — instead of the 45 percent reduction by 2030 that scientists say is needed to prevent disastrous climate change.

China and the US, as the world’s top carbon emitters, share a common responsibi­lity to pursue practical cooperatio­n and take the lead in tackling climate change. It would be for their own good and the interests of the world if the two countries strived to strengthen their engagement and dialogue to advance coordinati­on and cooperatio­n on climate change.

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